[Interview] The Design, Intent, and Future of AP Creative Cafe
As I was writing up this interview, I overheard in the news that there’s only an average of $300 a month difference between living in Manhattan compared to Brooklyn. I’m honestly not surprised about that figure, for the simple fact that Brooklyn’s gentrification is unavoidably noticeable. To say the least, we’re running out of ghettos to transform, areas to change zoning districts into mixed resolutions, and a growing population of new comers seeking the New York City experience as part of their everyday living.
I sat down and chopped it up with Netic Grant, the frontman for Brooklyn’s Afro-punk band, Game Rebellion. One, out of four business partners of AP Creative Café located in the industrial section of Bushwick. Along with Netic’s brother, former NFL running back, Ryan Grant there’s also multidisciplinary artists, Hugo McCloud and Wes Mapes.
Our main points of discussion highlighted gentrification, investing in a food establishment, and raising the bar to support the evolving community.
What’s your perspective on gentrification in Brooklyn?
I think in general, for me, gentrification is a really big part of why I got involved in this project. I’ve lived in Brooklyn for a really long time. The longest, I’ve lived anywhere in my life has been in Brooklyn. And, the changes that I’ve seen over time are usually based around the conversations of gentrification and the negative connotations of overturning a neighborhood’s dwelling space by the increasing number of hipsters.
How does AP Creative Cafe’s vision fit into this equation and what makes you different from every other coffeehouse slash cafe?
Before, we transformed this concept into a reality; as the first ones on this block, this space was a high-end custom design wood and metal shop. We’re all artist in some type of form. We incorporated our individual self-awareness, collectively added value to this project and to this neighborhood, as a whole. Plus, we were in a suitable position. Our diverse backgrounds from traveling abroad has fostered the aesthetic appeal and personal flares to offer our rendition to locals. It’s bigger than social issues like racial and socioeconomic perspectives. It all starts from taking personal responsibility over your personal growth as a person. We had to incorporate that into the infrastructure of our company.
Lets talk about interior and exterior design. What inspired the creative process?
We’re all firm believers in our own abilities to influence and take risks. We approached it like, lets do something that others didn’t expect us to do and at the same time, maybe hasn’t been done before. We knew it was possible because we used this space to fabricate metal and wood. We were equipped with the construction know-how. So, choosing to install waterfalls for tranquility, skylights, and a 700lbs door for optimal natural lightning didn’t seem intangible. We’re infused into this space. We created it. I made this table, welded the base, and bolted it into the cement. We poured our sweet, blood, and tears to create a place to raise the bar in this neighborhood.
What do locals considered the ‘IT’ thing to order?
It varies depending on personal preference. Many, rave about the horchata latte, watermelon mint juice, ginger beer and Thai iced tea. We offer different types of quiches and a variety of delicious pastries. Seasonal specialties as well from local farmers and providers.
Will there be more additions to the menu in the near future?
Actually, there’s projected plans of physical expansion. We have only used 1/3 of our actual space. So, we’re building a restaurant in the future that will serve all kinds of our favorite dishes with minor tweaks.